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What Are the Arguments for Universal Health Care?

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  • Written By: Lily Ruha
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 03 September 2016
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Arguments for universal health care address the moral, financial, medical and societal benefits of providing comprehensive health care to all members of a society. Many advocates argue that it is moral and just to ensure that all people have access to health care. Providing medical care in the early stages of health problems generally increases survival rates. Universal coverage, it is argued, will save governments money in the long run. With a healthier population, more people can contribute productively to society, resulting in a decreased need for government welfare and disability programs.

Many advocates of public health financing consider universal medical care a basic human right. The core theme among many arguments for universal health care is that health coverage should not be limited to the employed or the affluent. A moral and just society, it is argued, must use public funds to take care of the health of all citizens. Under this argument, the level of medical care received is equal and universal and is not dependent on age, location, economics or employment status.

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Arguments for universal health care also address the greater disease recovery rates associated with preventive care. Detecting diseases in their early stages often leads to greater health outcomes. After diseases have spread and patients seek medical care because of extreme pain or discomfort, it might be too late to save them. Many organized health care advocates promote a publicly funded health care system that allows patients to receive regular check-ups and necessary tests without fears of going into debt. Even insured individuals, it is argued, might postpone visits to their doctors because of high insurance deductibles, co-payments or uninsured services.

Treating diseases in their early stages also can benefit society financially. Arguments for universal health care often address the financial repercussions of allowing disease to progress without proper treatment. Contagious diseases have the potential to remove many people from the workforce. People who cannot treat their health issues in the early stages might end up living with chronic illness and become dependent on public funds. In the end, it is argued, society incurs a greater financial cost when universal medical care is absent.

Among the many arguments for universal health care is the concern about an economically polarized society. Universal coverage is sometimes mentioned in discussions about the gap between the rich and the poor. Ensuring that all people have medical coverage reduces the possibility that middle class individuals and families will experience financial catastrophes as a result of chronic or costly diseases. It is argued that with a healthy and functional citizenry, all people are on equal ground in competing for jobs, contributing to society and striving for a better life.

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